Belfast Telegraph

Iraq crisis: Lying zealot Tony Blair is a fundamental danger to world peace

By Eamonn McCann

Tony Blair is right that religious fanaticism has fuelled the violence in Iraq but refuses to admit his own role. I wonder has he ever read Acts 5. That's the bit where Ananias sells a piece of land and then lies that he has donated all the proceeds to the Apostles when, in fact, he has donated only a portion. God strikes him dead on the spot.

When Ananias's wife Sapphira rushes distraught to the scene and insists that her husband had been telling the truth. God strikes her dead, too.

You'd think Blair would be cowering for cover from thunderbolts. But there he was at the weekend, aglow with certainty, describing any suggestion that he bears a sliver of blame for the blood-burst as "bizarre".

How about God's hatred of liars as expressed in Proverbs 6:16-19: "Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, one who sows discord ... "

"Haughty eyes" is the giveaway.

Blair lied in advance about the invasion and has been lying ever since to sustain the lie. He took the UK to war on the basis of a claim that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction which could be launched at 45 minutes notice. Now he says that, although this has since been shown to be untrue, "everybody" believed it at the time.

No they didn't. Millions who marched didn't believe a word of it. The French Government refused to back a UN resolution for war precisely on this basis. Blair now renders this as France refusing to fight "in any circumstances", leaving the US and UK to go it alone. Wrong again. Jacques Chirac's position was that there were no circumstances in which France would go to war unless evidence of WMD was produced.

Linking the invasion to current events, Blair argued at the weekend that: "Even if you had left Saddam in place in 2003, then when the Arab revolutions (emerged) in 2011, you would have still had a major problem in Iraq."

Possibly so. But half the country overrun by cutthroat zealots?

Blair's thinking in 2003 paralleled the jihadists' today. According to Alastair Campbell's diaries, in the weeks before the invasion, Blair was guided by his faith and regularly spoke to "his Maker".

His agent of 24 years, John Burton, has written: "It's very simple to explain the idea of Blair the Warrior. It was part of Tony living out his faith ... he believed strongly that intervention in Kosovo, Sierra Leone – Iraq too – was all part of the Christian battle."

George W Bush was of the same mind. In July 2003, at a Palestine-Israel summit in Egypt, according to Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath: "President Bush said to all of us, 'God would tell me, "George, go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan", and I did. Then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq", and I did.'"

The jihadists' religious motivation is regularly emphasised. But we rarely hear reference to the religious impulse which drove Bush and Blair to bomb the country to bits and then invade.

In August 2006 Blair took time out from a trip to California where he was to pay homage to Rupert Murdoch – there'll be less of that sort of thing after wistful Wendi's paean of praise for the former PM's shapely thighs – to address the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles. The fundamental point of the invasion had not been to find WMD, much less to overthrow the Saddam regime, he explained, but to extirpate a particular set of values. What was happening in the Middle East, not only in Iraq, was "a struggle between what I will call Reactionary Islam and Moderate, Mainstream Islam ... not about changing regimes but changing value systems".

Veteran Middle East correspondent Patrick Cockburn commented at the time: "I only hope al-Qaida, Hezbollah or Hamas do not translate (Blair's) speech into Arabic since every paranoid paragraph confirms their claim that they are battling a western crusade against Islam."

The speech was translated and widely published across the region and gave another vicious twist to the spiral of hatred which has brought us to the mass murder of unarmed prisoners handcuffed and huddled into ditches. Direct responsibility for the horror lies with the perpetrators. But Blair was at least a key accessory before the fact.

Now he is on the stump again, calling for more of the same, believing that God is in Heaven smiling down on the hell Blair has helped bring about on Earth.

The man is a constant danger to peace in the world. For how much longer can the international community allow his religious rampage to continue?

Belfast Telegraph

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